MOLSON COORS NIGHT PREVIEW
& THREE STARS
Hydraulics Plus Night brought out a bit of everything a good short track, under the light show should.
We saw some pretty intense racing in the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros and the Coors Light Trucks. The Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman race was a little rough at times but in the end produced a duel between a veteran and a driver going for his first win. Kyle MacMillan and Stevie Lively continued to write their chapter in four cylinder racing in the ACE Lumbermart Thunder class, one that appears to be far from over.
Then there was that incredible display of racing in the Strictly Hydraulics Legend cars. As the checkered flag was set to fly, you had three drivers fighting for the victory that showed the fire and determination like it would be the last race they would ever win. With the way they have been running, I’m sure we are going to continue to see this spirited type of racing all season long.
I’ll also throw this in here, and I hope I’m not jinxing us when I say this, but while Mother Nature has been bearing down pretty hard on every other race track in this region; we’ve been perfect so far this season! Three races, all run to their completion this season. Kudos to Ken Cunning and our staff who make those calls to not back off when the weather looks less than ideal to push on and fight it off.
We’ll talk some more racing in a bit but first, the Three Stars from Hydraulics Plus Night.
#4 - Danny Harvey - Strictly Hydraulics Legends
It’s been a few years since Danny Harvey has been in victory lane at Scotia Speedworld. In fact, Friday night was his first career victory at Scotia Speedworld in a Legend car, a feat he had pulled at Exhibition Park, but never at the Speedworld.
Harvey established an early lead but would be in for a challenge in the late laps. Not only did he have his Uncle Cy Harvey behind him but he also had Cole Butcher coming to the front in a furious charge. Danny even got his #4 Sangster’s Automotive/NGH Industrial Services Legend sideways on the final lap in the final corner coming to the checkers but managed to hold on by inches to take the win over Butcher, who had positioned himself on the outside of Danny after passing Cy a half lap before.
With the drive he had, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the #4 car with the checkered flag again before the season is out. Great drive, Danny!
#10 - Robbie Watts - Coors Light Trucks
Robbie Watts told me when we started the season that 2013 was a fresh start of sorts. No longer was he known as the #55 (though two fives do make ten) in the ACE Lumbermart Thunder class. Gone was the white and red Civic and in was the Lamborghini Green Chevrolet in the Coors Light Truck division. They knew they were up for a challenge this season as rookies in the class but they sure made it look easy on Night Two, didn’t they?
Watts doubled down on Hydraulics Plus Night en route to taking his first feature victory at the Speedworld since Ken Schrader Night in 2009. The win was a popular one with his cheering section and they had plenty to cheer about as Watts held off a challenge from Speedworld veteran Larry Vaughan and defending Truck class champ Dan Smith.
I know it’s really early to talk points, but with the class having a very low point spread between first and last and the rookie only being six points out of the lead in third place, even though he may not be thinking championship, keep an eye out on the #10 as we go throughout this season for that top spot in points.
#71 - Chris Dingle - Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman
Where did he come from?
After a one year hiatus from the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series, Chris Dingle is quickly reminding us he will be a contender this season at the Speedworld. The former podium finisher in the Shriners Classic led laps in the main feature last week and held off eventual winner Darren Wallage on two of the race’s three Lap 32 restarts before Wallage timed the third one perfectly.
Dingle did not quit though when he lost the lead. The #71 Destiny Travel Chevrolet fought hard for every piece of real estate and held off point leader Aaron Boutilier (Porter’s Lake) to take the runner up spot in the feature. With it comes third in the point standings early in the season in a very competitive top division at the Speedworld. With lots of racing to come this year, expect Dingle to fight for more, if not take some, feature wins before this year is complete on September 14th.
Honorable Mentions: Cole Butcher (Strictly Hydraulics Legends), Adam Meehan (Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros), Kyle MacMillan (ACE Lumbermart Thunder), Darren Wallage (Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman), Harry Ross White (Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman), Cole Tanner (Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros)
The Coors Light Truck division takes the spotlight this Friday night at the Speedworld with Molson Coors Night. Though small in numbers, this division features some of the best full field competition we see on a weekly basis at the Speedworld. They shared the flag last year with eight winners in 11 races in 2012 and so far we have two winners in as many races with Watts and Ryan Goldsmith taking the honors. Though he has yet to win this year, Dan Smith has the point lead by a slim one point margin over Goldsmith. Vernon Brown is still trying to dial in his race truck, Jason Fenton has a runner up finish to his credit already this season and Larry Vaughan told me last week that even though their truck is fast, it’s not quite where he wants it. If that’s the case, especially with the speed Vaughan has shown in the first two weeks of the season, he may be the prime candidate to roll into victory lane Friday night. Then again, as I said, any one of the six could win at any time in the class.
We are still waiting on about a half dozen more to join us this season. Chris Ainsworth should be out this week with his #11 truck, “The Pit Lizard” Jamie Creamer was set to make his debut last week but was not at the track, so it shouldn’t be too long before we see his, along with “The Animal” Jeff Campbell making laps in a truck. Jim MacMillan will have his two sons Cale MacMillan and Chris Smith at the track as well before the season is out. Jim MacMillan was the only driver last season to pilot a Dodge Dakota to victory in the class.
The ACE Lumbermart Lightning cars return after their week off break and Monster Jam. “Rational” Richard Patrick leads the standings after his popular win on Opening Day with Jamie Dillman a single point behind. J.R. Lawson runs third after a solid performance on May 26th, with sophomore Donovan Gaudet and Creamer completing the top five.
The ACE Lumbermart Thunder class has been all Kyle MacMillan this season. MacMillan is the only driver who is perfect this season, winning both his heats and features in the first two nights of racing at the Speedworld. Stevie Lively sits second in the division and has been MacMillan’s main competition in this class for the last two seasons. The battle for third spot though has stolen the show in the last two weeks between Drew MacEachern, Dave Matthews and Matthew Warren. Add in Tim Webster last week and you have four evenly matched car and driver combinations that with a little tweaking could be right up there with MacMillan and Lively.
As a side note, it was great to see Andrew Cluett back at the track in a race car this past week. Albeit it was in a car he wasn’t accustomed to driving, Cluett still got to scratch his itch for short track racing in the Shady Racing prepared #4 car when regular driver Kirk Mullane fell ill throughout the evening with side effects from what Cluett relayed to me as an ear infection. Expect the #94 to be out to the track soon, possibly as early as this Friday to add even more depth to this class.
While MacMillan is perfect, Adam Meehan has one small blemish on his record in the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros. Craig MacDonald stood between Meehan and the checkered flag last Friday in the high point heat, which remains as the only race the #6 Drive Products/Ocean Truck Equipment Bandolero has not won at his home track this season. Braden Langille continues to show speed though and once small slip from Meehan could open the door for Langille to capitalize. Don’t overshadow the run Cole Tanner had last week though folks. Tanner has struggled a bit at the Speedworld in the last year or so but it was refreshing to see the #33 car back up front for a while on Friday night. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tanner holding a checkered flag or two before long.
As mentioned, the Strictly Hydraulics Legends stole the show last week. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we’ve been witnessing something real special with the talent Cole Butcher has. He drove on the outside around Cy Harvey and nearly got the edge on Danny Harvey in the closing laps of that race and is on the hunt for his second Legend car championship at the Speedworld. Between the young guns in this class and the drivers who are a little longer in the tooth, it is a great mix of competitive individuals who continue to put on a fantastic show week in and week out.
I hope you can join us Friday night, because it will once again be a barnburner at the Speedworld.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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